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Film buffs are ditching long queues at the cinema to watch movies online. This continues to be debated in India due to internet bandwidth issues and online piracy. But is it just that which still makes 28% of Indian adults go to the cinema halls*? Beyond the Dolby digital effects, there is more to the experience of going to watch movies in theatres.

“Which is the latest movie that you have seen?” From status updates on social networking sites to the opening  conversation when boy meets girl for the first time, movies continue to bridge the gap of lack of information to build a connection. Other than posting pictures of holidays, the next active thing that most dormant FB users do is post their views on the latest movies they have seen. And of course this comes with the assumption that they watched this movie in the theatre. Who cares about what people have been watching on Tata Sky showcase or have been downloading from the net?

Be it a date, catching up with friends or bonding with colleagues, going to watch a movie together is a convenient and sometimes lesser expensive way of spending quality time. To a lot of people it gives an opportunity to bond together while making up for the awkwardness of lack of conversation beyond work and family. The commonly heard “ let’s go for a movie together” is still far from implying watching it online while it buffers or skimming through part 1 and 2 of downloaded movies.

Movies tend to also be an easy opportunity for a family outing. From Grandpa to little baby, everyone can go for a movie together, some for Katrina, some for popcorn and some just to get out of the rut of day to day chores. Most of the time when I go to watch movies, I see one of the big families, bustling into the theatre with hands full of coke and popcorn. The euphoria continues to the food court post the movie as well, right from dissecting performances to discussing outfits worn by the actors. Before the multiplexes, going to the theatre used to be an annual family outing and we would remember every movie we had gone out to see.

And if you thought this was only about bonding and connection, there are some very practical uses as well. Movies also provide a place to while away time when spouses have men only or women only gatherings at home or if the rest of the family wants to shop and you are the only one who does not believe in retail therapy. And when there is no electricity at home and the sultry weather is killing, going for a late night show is a good way to catch a few winks in the comfort of the air conditioned multiplex and if gold class is available, nothing like it. Have done this a number of times when the temperature in the hostel room during summers got unbearable.

So while mechanisms to watch movies at convenience like TV, VCR, DVD or now youtube, continue to evolve, the charm of going to the cinema hall from the days of “Amrit Manthan ” to the recent “Cocktail” remains…

*Source- Visual life study conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of US based Intel Corporation in October 2011.


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